And yesterday afternoon, in as important a symbolic act as they could possibly have undertaken, former US Presidents Bush and Clinton responded to President Obama's request to them to lead a relief effort to aid the earthquake victims.
The United States has a particular interest in Haiti's welfare, partly though geographical proximity and partly because of a not always easy political relationship. It was encouraging therefore to hear Bill Clinton yesterday emphasizing the need for both short- and long-term aid to Haiti. Its people have had a rough deal almost since they achieved independence at the start of the 19th century and they are owed the chance of a new start after this latest setback. Perhaps the two former Presidents can think of a way of retaining the world's interest and action in Haiti when the nightmare of the present has passed.